Like a prize fighter who dedicates years towards seizing an opportunity and moment under the bright lights, UpNext Promotions has come out swinging to quickly become the most active and popular regional MMA brand in California. Capacity crowds, quality production and entertainment, and well-matched, fan-friendly fights have become a staple of every UNF show.
Led by experienced combat sports veterans and a dedicated team of professionals, UpNext Promotions is bringing the Future of the Fight Game to life by focusing on providing its athletes and fans with the greatest experience in the world of combat sports. UpNext Fighting is strongly committed to helping MMA fighters achieve real and consistent success, opportunities, and exposure that others in the business simply do not offer. The UNF team is focused on providing our athletes an incredible platform to showcase their skills, entertain the fans, and advance their careers in and out of the cage.
From the moment an MMA fighter signs up to step into the UNF cage, regardless of whether the fighter is making a debut or is a veteran of the sport, UNF treats every fighter like a true champion and star of the sport. And from the moment fight fans arrive at a UNF event, they become immersed in an electric atmosphere and quality sports and entertainment experience that only the grandest of MMA events can provide.
In a sport where so many are all about the hype, UNF is all about delivering amazing MMA events. The Future of the Fight Game is here and anyone part of the UNF family has a front row seat to who and what is UP NEXT!
We have assembled a team of like-minded focused professionals to ensure that the goals of the organization are met. The UNF leadership team brings together a group of high performing individuals with different experience and expertise and together, this team is sure to make UNF a success for both the athletes and fans.
We understand that it takes a team of very different people to create something special. We have assembled that team and are committed to becoming the future of the fight game.
Ryan & Kobe Buckner
Ryan & Kobe Buckner are 24 year old twin brothers who grew up around mixed martial arts all their lives and developed a passion for the sport. They soon realized that that they wanted to be more involved in the sport and to do more to support the fighters and create an environment where fighters are put first. They decided to start UpNext Fighting to accomplish this. Ryan & Kobe bring a new way of thinking to the world of combat sports. They plan to bring their creative thinking to life to build the promotion business into something special that will truly focus on creating the best experience for the fighters and fans alike.
George Bastrmajyan began his life-long love affair with combat sports at an early age through karate and then muay thai. As a fighter, George competed in over 20 fights in the United States and abroad. Although he loved fighting, George found his true passion advising fighters and organizing MMA shows through his company, Lights Out Promotions. Over the past decade, George’s MMA shows including Chaos at the Casino, Lights Out Xtreme Fighting (LXF) and its predecessor California Xtreme Fighting (CXF) have become the gold standard for matchmaking and organization. While producing the most exciting MMA shows on the Southern California fight scene, George has helped a generation of fighters achieve success, opportunities, and exposure that others cannot offer and he cannot wait to show the world what Up Next Fighting is all about.
Steve Bash began his career in combat sports in 2005 as an attorney representing professional boxers and MMA fighters. Over the next 15 years, Bash Boxing Inc. has provided management, marketing, production, and promotional services to World Champion boxers and MMA fighters, national and international promotional organizations, entertainment media companies, and other businesses involved in combat sports. Bash Boxing Inc. has been intimately involved with the launch of various boxing and MMA brands, providing athletes, managers, and promotional companies a full-service platform to make their marks in the boxing and MMA businesses. Over 100 shows later, Bash is excited to spearhead the next generation of shows with Up Next Fighting.
Kris Buckner began training in martial arts at the age of 16 and has continued throughout his life. Kris started his own company over 25 years ago and built it into an internationally known business. Kris understands the importance of building a strong high performing team that is focused on results. Over the years, Kris has managed large scale global projects for fortune 100 companies to ensure that their strategic goals were met. Kris plans to bring his expertise to the table to ensure UpNext will provide the next generation of fighters every opportunity to grow professionally. Kris is excited to partner with his sons Ryan and Kobe, who he knows are the “next generation” and bring a new way of thinking to the table, while working with George and Steve, who have already proven themselves to be the best in the business. Kris strongly believes the UpNext team is going to do special things in the combat sports game.
Digital & Social Media Strategist
An award-winning thought leader, journalist, speaker, podcaster and digital marketing strategist, Jeramie McPeek spent 24 years with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, most recently as VP of Digital & Brand Strategy, before leaving to launch his own consulting company in 2016. Since starting his new venture, Jeramie McPeek Communications, he has worked with the NFL, NBA, NWSL, XFL, WWE and the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, and has consulted a number of high-profile individuals, including a U.S. Senator, a celebrity chef, an NFL Pro Bowl player and a pro wrestling legend. A graduate of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, McPeek has worked on social media campaigns for multiple Super Bowls, as well as the Pope’s visit to the U.S. in 2015, and has had more than a thousand articles published in national magazines over the past 25 years. A keynote or featured speaker at more than 40 digital and communications conferences in seven countries, @Jeramie owns two Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards and created the Digital Sports Strategy class at the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU.
Director of Production
David Marquez has been producing and directing live event television for more than 30 years. He began his career in Los Angeles, CA as an intern at KABC-TV and took his first paying production job with Tele-Cable in Springfield, MO. Since that time, he’s been responsible for thousands of regional and national college and professional sports, news, and general entertainment broadcasts. Pro wrestling and Combat Sports have been a major part of his career. Marquez produces over 160 hours of televised bouts a year. In 1999, Marquez left television for the movies. He spent two years developing motion picture vehicles for Nicolas Cage at his production company, Saturn Films. In 2001, he returned full time to television production. Marquez has been honored with many awards, including two Emmy’s.
Brand Experience & Creative Development
A veteran of Martial Arts and a pioneer in MMA for the bantamweight fighters. For 15 years, Chad fought on the biggest stages in the sport such as the WEC and Bellator. He was the first Combat Jiu Jitsu World Champion and the subject of the highly acclaimed documentary Occupation: Fighter. Today, Chad works with top athletes and businesses on brand development and mental coaching. We are excited to bring his wealth of experience to the UPnext team.
Veteran combat sports commentator Todd Keneley has joined the Up Next Fighting broadcast team. Keneley has over 20 years’ experience calling the action for many promotions including EliteXC, Impact Wrestling, World Combat League, and many more. Todd is a USC graduate and former USC Football defensive tackle. Keneley will be teamed with longtime broadcast partner Jonathan King. The knowledgeable and entertaining duo have worked together for several years on broadcasts for CFX, Bash Boxing, Celtic Gladiator and more. “I can’t wait to call the action for this exciting new brand of MMA. At UNF, it’s time to Fight On!” says Keneley.
A lifelong combat sports fanatic whose career calling and reporting on mixed martial arts, kickboxing, boxing, that spans over a decade. He has worked for CXF MMA, Lights Out Promotions, The King of The Cage, Spar Star MMA, CFC MMA, Tru Form Entertainment, Up and Comers MMA and many, many others.
Ashlee “Rebel Girl” Evans-Smith is originally from a small NorCal town & after wrestling on a boys high school team, wrestled at Menlo College in the Bay Area. She was a 4x All-American who began her MMA career shortly after graduation. With her B. A in Mass Communications (Media Studies) and high hopes, she moved to Orange County in Southern Californian where to she lives today, pursing her MMA dreams. Fighting in the UFC(Ultimate Fighting Championship) since 2014, she’s fought in the Flyweight, Bantamweight & Featherweight divisions. She has her own podcast called “Sex & Violence with Rebel Girl,” where she interview high-level fighters as well as other experts in their fields, about their personal stories of love, romance & sexual experiences.
Thor Skancke is an American Mixed Martial artist with over 20 professional fights to his credit. He is also the co-owner of 101 Boxing Club in Newbury Park CA. Thor considers himself a Connoisseur of violent sports from Boxing to Mixed Martial Arts and everything in between. His obsession for MMA can be dated back to 2001 when he first discovered Pride fighting Championships and Kasushi Sakuraba, he’s been hopelessly hooked ever since.